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One of the most prestigious tournaments on the Counter-Strike calendar, the 2024 edition of IEM Katowice offers just that little bit more extra intrigue than usual by being the first huge CS2 LAN event of the year. Players and teams from all around the world have battled for the privilege to play in front of the Spodek’s adoring crowd, and their travails will continue from the Play-In stage to the groups and beyond, bringing some of the most incredible esports action our way in the meantime.

Here is everything you need to know about IEM Katowice 2024, including the teams and players, the tournament format and schedule, and the betting odds for the event.

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What is the format and the schedule of IEM Katowice 2024?

IEM Katowice is one of the biggest Counter-Strike tournaments of the year, with a storied history and a $1 million prize pool to contest, with a winner taking home an eye-popping $400 000 and an invitation to August’s IEM Cologne and the end-of-year BLAST Premier World Final.

The Play-In Stage, which determines the eight non-invited participants of the main event, takes place between January 31 and February 2.

The Group Stage, featuring the eight invited and the eight qualified teams, will run from February 3 to February 6.

The playoffs, taking place in the Spodek, the “Hall of Heroes,” a synonym for Counter-Strike excellence, run from February 9 to February 11.

All matches in the main event are best-of-three, with the exception of the best-of-five grand final. Awesome stuff!

IEM Katowice Play-In Stage, explained

IEM Katowice 2024 Play-In Stage bracket from Liquipedia

Similarly to previous years, the strongest teams on the open circuit earned themselves a direct invitation to the group stage of IEM Katowice, with the rest of the potential participants having to duke it out for the privilege in the Play-In Stage, which takes place between January 31 and February 2. It features a best-of-one opening match, with best-of-three matches to follow. It takes the form of a double-elimination bracket: win two series, and you earn a spot in the main event – lose two, and you are out of contention.

Eight of the sixteen participating teams will make it to the main event, and the opening matchups have been seeded as such, with betting odds included:

With the opening matchups being best-of-one affairs, they may be more upset-prone than you might think at first. Also, keep an eye on Team Spirit’s young superstar, donk, who is set to dominate the proceedings.

IEM Katowice 2024 group stage: the teams and the format

The tournament winners and five high-ranked teams earned themselves a direct invite for the group stages, meaning the crème de la crème of CS2 esports can calmly sit out the Play-In Stage. Here are the teams and what you need to know about them:

Group A directly qualified teams

IEM Katowice 2024 Group A bracket from Liquipedia

FaZe Clan (karrigan, rain, broky, ropz, frozen) – winners of IEM Sydney 2023

Even though they seem to have fallen behind Vitality on the pecking order, FaZe’s first outing with frozen suggests they may have an easier time surviving the transition from Twistzz than it initially seemed. It makes sense, seeing how the young Slovakian has already played with karrigan and ropz on a previous MOUZ roster, and this new squad seems to have maintained all the explosiveness and excitement that has made them a fan-favorite in the first place.

Natus Vincere (Aleksib, b1t, jL, iM, w0nderful) – ESL World Ranking

Spare a thought for Aleksib, who seems to stumble from chaotic project to chaotic project. This time, it’s the long-term absence of s1mple he has to deal with, the minor matter of having to replace one of the greatest players of all time. So far, the results have been a mixed bag, and this event will no doubt play a great part in determining how bright a future this project has, even if it would be hard to imagine a roster change before the upcoming Major at this point.

Complexity (JT, floppy, Grim, hallzerk, EliGE) – ESL World Ranking

Complexity have been punching above their weight recently, and EliGE surprised the world by just how effectively he integrated himself into the team after his departure from Team Liquid. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them make a deep run here again: after all, who could forget that incredible grand final showing in Sydney, where they finished runners-up in the first big CS2 LAN tournament?

Team Falcons (Snappi, BOROS, Magisk, maden, SunPayus) – ESL World Ranking

A controversial project that has not ended up with the super-squad they initially planned for, Falcons will remain a mystery for a while to come. No doubt coach zonic’s expertise will help make them more than the sum of their parts, but man, with all due respect, some of these parts are not quite up to snuff.

Group B directly qualified teams

IEM Katowice 2024 Group B bracket from Liquipedia

Team Vitality (apEX, ZywOo, Spinx, flameZ, mezii) – ESL World Ranking

Major winners, trophy-stackers, excellent players, including the HLTV number one: Vitality are the team to beat heading into 2024 generally and IEM Katowice specifically, with every squadmate firing on all cylinders and apEX delivering some real IGL magic to boot.

G2 Esports (HooXi, huNter-, NiKo, m0NESY, nexa) – winners of IEM Cologne 2023

With jks out and nexa coming back in, it’s yet another controversial roster change for the long-chaotic G2 squad that never quite seemed to live up to expectations. Despite some super-tournament wins, you’d expect more from a team with the best rifler in Counter-Strike and one of the best AWPing talent in the world. Questions continue to swirl about HooXi’s leadership, and you can’t help but wonder that nexa’s return might be partly motivated by his previous IGL credentials. This event will prove critical for everyone involved.

Monte (Woro2k, DemQQ, kRaSnaL, sdy, br0) – ESL World Ranking

The young upstarts of Monte are back again, having made impressive deep playoff runs in S-Tier events last year. As members of a non-partnered org, they had limited opportunities to showcase their mettle in the CS2 era, making this a huge opportunity for them. Judging by their win at ESL Challenger at DreamHack Winter 2023 and other strong showings in lower-rated events, they are ready for the challenge.

MOUZ (xertioN, torzsi, siuhy, Jimpphat, BrollaN) – winners of ESL Pro League Season 18

Speaking of young upstarts, MOUZ firmly established themselves as one of the strongest teams in 2023, even if they were often the bridesmaid rather than the bride when it came to deep playoff runs. Now, with frozen decamping for FaZe Clan, Brollan is the temporary replacement of choice: a player whose profile fits well with the rest of the squad but someone who has never really been able to replicate his strong showings ever since the nerf of the scoped rifles: the AUG and the SG.

IEM Katowice 2024 playoff bracket from Liquipedia

Of the sixteen teams in total that make up the group stage, six will earn themselves a chance to play in the famous Spodek Arena in the playoffs. Two teams are directly seeded into the semifinals, with the remaining four playing out two quarterfinal matches – all in preparation for an exciting best-of-five grand final for the ages.

Check out the Bitsler blog for more on everything Counter-Strike esports!

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